Good eats downtown......where?

edited November 2015 in Lansing
Restaurants are really scarce in the downtown area. I mean the dine inn, good ol American cuisine type spots. There are way too many spots downtown for lunch, sub shops..... different cuisines.... but no spots that i know of to make me come downtown for a nice steak reasonably priced, with a side of rice pilaf or something like that. I think it would do the downtown area some good to open a few family style restaurants and definitely a Joe's Crabshack. I should not have to go through the TORTURE of driving to AA just for a really good crab bucket.


  • For steaks downtown there are few choices, I've heard Troppo is good and the Knight Kap is great (at least before the new owner), but both are fairly expensive. I don't eat seafood, so I can't really offer any help there. For BBQ I've heard nothing but great things about Meat Southern BBQ on Turner in Old Town, I've tried to go there but they've always been packed, Saddleback BBQ in REO Town is apparently about on par.

    You do bring up a good point about there not being any family style or chain restaurants downtown. It serves as a good reminder as to how much is still lacking and how much growing there is to do when it comes to downtown businesses.
  • Isn't Edmonds supposed to serve (relatively) cheap American food? Never been, but I heard the concept was to make it a cheaper price point than Troppos.

    Yeah, there are certainly things that need to be filled in, downtown, that we're missing. That said, it's not likely we'll see many family-styled chains. This is rare in all but the largest of cities where they don't have any other options than an urban environment. Aside from the high rents, chain restaurants are really big on parking, which is always a problem in downtown areas. So, even by some miracle rents were going to come down, you'd still have chains looking at the area skeptically. It's really nothing about Lansing, and more about the landscape of chain restaurants in this day and age. It also has to do with size specs for these chains. Since they are cookie-cutter, they really like to have floorplans as close to what they'd have in their new construction places as possible. A lot of these storefronts don't lend themselves to these kind of modern layouts.

    To be honest, you'd either going to have high-end and/or "destination" restaurants that can serve upscale or special dinner crowds, or lunch chains who can pay the rent with their huge downtown lunch crowds, and not much in between. You're not going to get too many chains in a downtown area short of having a downtown food court/mall specially built for restaurants like this.

    I'd always thrown this out there before, but I always thought the parking lot off Washington south of Lenawee would make a great place to have a downtown (enclosed) food court/plaza of sorts.
  • The Knight Cap was a really good steakhouse with plenty of seafood options before the management change. I assume it still is.
    Edmund's is now Tavern and Tap, and they are basically upscale sports bar type food. I guess that might be selling it short since they do have some good specials, and everything I've had has been well prepared.
    The Creole's kitchen should be opening soon.
    Both BBQ places are excellent.
    I would expect more options in the near future as more full time residents move into the area.
  • I would not really like to see a big chain restaurant in downtown. I do not think the thyme park facades like in the "town center" on Lake Lansing Rd. would look right or fit into downtown. A chain that fits into the an existing building could work, like at the Knapp's Center. There a a couple of high end steak house chains that fit themselves into urban surroundings. At Knapp's there is enough space to have a B-L-D operation maybe with different spaces for each meal. What about a seasonal floating restaurant? It could be on a barge right behind the Grand Ave Parking ramp south of Michigan Ave. Again in Boston, there is a really fun place called The Barking Crab that is located on a barge in the harbor.

    I could also see a urban food court at S.Washington and Lenawee. [The googlemaps street shots of downtown are now from 2015] It is sort of a Lansing urban myth that it is difficult and expensive to park in downtown, yes you do have to pay something during the work week but it is really cheap compared to other cities and is free and plentiful all of the rest of the time. I think they should really change that perception and let people know how easy it is to go downtown, and then have good reason to go there.
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